A disgruntled golfer who had his membership withdrawn because no one wanted to play with him took revenge by poisoning the club’s greens at night and supergluing lockers shut.
Glen Newton, 55, lost his membership at Woolley Park Golf Club in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, last year after clashing with club staff and alienating potential playing partners due to his unsportsmanlike behaviour.
The former miner was so angry that he put on a balaclava and used a watering can to pour weed killer on to the grass around two holes, causing almost £16,000 worth of damage between February 2020 and April 2021.
Before his campaign of sabotage began, when Newton was asked to leave the club, he superglued staff and members’ lockers shut after clearing out his own, The Telegraph understands.
He allegedly sabotaged the greens on three occasions before being caught red-handed during a fourth attack, as the club’s owners had installed CCTV to catch the culprit.
The disgruntled golfer caught on a golf course security camera
Credit: Ben Lack
Glen Newton was given a three-month suspended sentence
Credit: Ben Lack Photography
John Rowbottom, 33, the groundskeeper, spotted Newton on the green on the evening of April 19 and quickly drove in his direction. Newton ran away, so Mr Rowbottom got out of the vehicle and chased him. He caught up and ripped the balaclava off his head.
Newton, of Netherton, near Wakefield, was arrested and admitted one count of causing criminal damage on April 19. He was not convicted of the three other attacks due to lack of evidence.
He was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay £10,000 compensation.
Greenkeeper John Rowbottom, who helped apprehend Newton
Credit: Ben Lack
Recorder Dafydd Enoch QC, sitting at Leeds Crown Court, told him: "I do not know what possessed you to behave in that way. I’m sure there’s two sides to every story, there almost always is.
"But the fact is you took the law into your own hands and in a completely planned and premeditated way, you decided you were going to seriously damage these people’s green.
"You obtained the equipment and you disguised yourself. You caused great distress to the person who faced you. The result is that you did what you set out to do, which was to cause serious damage."
Philip Rowbottom, 61, who owns the golf club, said Newton had been a member for about seven years and ended up being "difficult and bullying" towards staff and other members.
One of the damaged greens at Woolley Park Golf Club. The greens locked like a 'patchwork quilt' after Newton poured weed killer on them, the court heard
Credit: Ben Lack
"Newton was very annoyed with us after we didn’t let him renew his membership," he said.
"When we finally caught him the CCTV alerted us to an intruder and I could tell it was him on the cameras by the way he walked. He had a balaclava on and was carrying a watering can."
The greens locked like a "patchwork quilt" after Newton poured weed killer on them, the court heard.
Woolley Park is a family-run golf club which has been handed down over four generations. It offers an 18-hole and a nine-hole course, as well as an indoor golf simulator.
Newton’s wife said Wednesday: "We’ve been through a lot and the truth is our side of the story, which is completely different. I think we have been through enough, we’ve had six months of hell.”